The Golden Striker
Ron Carter likes his bass. Not only does the venerable jazzman assume rhythm-section duties for this trio session (he didn’t hire a drummer), but he also enjoys an unusually high presence in the mix. His sound is deliciously warm, buttery and resonant, and his unintentional—though clearly audible—humming is an interesting window into his musical thought processes. On the downside, guitarist Russell Malone occasionally disappears beneath Carter’s sonic girth. (On the Brazilian-tinged “Parade,” Malone abandons his strings altogether to beat his hollow-body like a conga.) Carter, Malone and pianist Mulgrew Miller stir up a bit of interest on the title track and “Cedar Tree,” inching past each other in brief melodic increments. But on whole, the trio never ignites beyond a few promising sparks.